LOS ANGELES (AFP) – Anthony Davis and Dwight Howard had to be separated by teammates as the Los Angeles Lakers slumped to an eighth straight defeat with a 115-105 loss to the Phoenix Suns yesterday.
After losing all six of their pre-season games, the Lakers followed up their season-opening reverse to Golden State with another disjointed performance at the Staples Centre.
And the tensions within the Lakers’ new-look roster boiled over in the first half when Davis and Howard squared up to each other on the bench during a timeout.
Several Lakers players including LeBron James scrambled to separate the duo, with Davis gesticulating as he was hustled away.
Coach Frank Vogel played down the altercation, which he said had arisen from a miscommunication on court. “Dwight and AD had a miscue on a coverage and they talked it out,” Vogel said. “Sometimes those conversations get heated.
“Those guys love each other, they talked it out. And that’s going to happen from time to time – I’d rather our guys care than not care.”
The Lakers led early in the second quarter against last season’s NBA Finals runners-up, but were overwhelmed in the third quarter as the Suns romped into a 32-point lead.
Chris Paul led the scoring for Phoenix with 23 points and 14 assists while Devin Booker had 22 points, with Mikal Bridges adding 21.
James led the Lakers scorers with 25 points while Davis added 22 with 14 rebounds in a losing effort.
Russell Westbrook was one assist away from his first triple double in a Lakers shirt, with 11 rebounds, nine assists and 15 points.